Every business owner should be able to answer with an unqualified “Yes” to the following questions which address the fundamental need for businesses to identify and understand their competition. If you answer “No” to any of these questions, you are probably missing some valuable information that would provide you with a competitive advantage.
- Do you know who your competitors are? Do you know where they are and how big they are? Would you be aware if any new competitors entered your market?
- Do you regularly monitor your competitors’ advertising and promotions by looking for their advertisements, visiting their premises and looking at their websites?
- Do you talk to your suppliers about your competitors and gather information about what they’re buying and what quantities they purchase?
- Do you encourage your employees to keep an eye on marketing activity by your competitors and pass any good ideas on to you?
- Do you keep up to date with technological developments in your field and will you know if your competitors adopt new technology into their business?
- Do you know the statistics of your marketplace – what your share of market is and what market share is held by each of your major competitors?
- Have you conducted a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis on your business? Are you prepared to deal with any competitive threats that might be identified?
- Do you know what opportunities exist for you to grow your business – either by taking business away from your competitors or by expanding into new market areas?
- Do you know what is happening in the legislative environment that might affect your operations such as new laws relating to workplace safety or product standards that could pose a threat to you or mean that you will have to change the way you conduct your business?
- Do you regularly research your products or service offerings against those of your competitors? Are you able to respond quickly if you find your product/service offers fewer features and benefits or needs improvement?
There can be a lot of work involved in finding the answers to these questions and using them to improve your products or the way you deliver your services. But you also have advocates in your team, whose eyes and ears can also be alert to monitor your marketplace. If you work together with your team you’ll be in a much better position to answer the questions and to create strategies to outclass your competitors. Businesses that know and understand their rivals have a much better chance of being able to withstand competitive onslaughts and to formulate strategies that will win more business than others in its industry.
Information in this article is sourced from RAN ONE © 2010 Bullseye